File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The crucial talks between protesting farmers and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to break the deadlock over peasants' demands will be held in Chandigarh today even as rail services remained hit for the sixth consecutive day today, causing inconvenience to passengers.
On the invitation of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), representatives of eight farmer outfits spearheading the 'Rail Roko' agitation since October 7 will be meeting Mr Badal in Chandigarh in the evening to discuss their demands which include higher compensation for cotton crop loss.
Protesting farmers, who have described their agitation as "do-or-die battle" for them, have rejected the appeal of Mr Badal to call off the protest till their meeting is held with the Chief Minister.
Up in arms against the SAD-BJP led state government for "anti-farmers" policies, farmers have decided to announce their next line of action after holding talks with Mr Badal.
"We would like to see what results come out in the meeting with the Punjab CM before taking any call on our Rail Roko agitation," Buta Singh Burjwala, President, BKU (Dakunda) said.
Farmers in large numbers have been squatting on railway tracks at Mansa, Rampura, Shergarh, Pathrala (Bathinda), Dagru (Moga), and Mucchal (Amritsar), badly disrupting rail services at tracks including Ludhiana-Ferozepur, Ludhiana-Amritsar, Bathinda-Ambala, Ambala-Ferozepur.
The ongoing farmers' agitation, which had been described as the "worst-ever" protest to hit train movement in Punjab, has so far hit 469 trains in Ferozepur division in the six-day long protest.
Among 469 trains, 243 trains (109 mail/express and 134 passengers) have been cancelled while rest of them were diverted, short terminated and short originated, railway authorities said today.
Movement of as many as 84 trains was adversely impacted today, railway officials said adding that among them, 50 have been cancelled.
Prominent trains which stand cancelled today are Samjhauta Express --Delhi-Attari Express (14001), Attari-Delhi (14002), Attari-Lahore (14607), Lahore-Attari (14608), Shan-e-Punjab, railway officials said.
Of those which have been diverted are Tata Nagar-Jammu Tawi, Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi, Amritsar-Haridwar Jan Shatabadi, Amritsar- Mumbai, Delhi-Pathankot, Mumbai CST-Amritsar, Golden Temple mail, Amritsar-Howrah and Saryu Yamuna Express.